The SYSTEM Series

May 10, 2022  |  Toolkits and Training Materials

The SYSTEM (Strengthening Your System to Energize Momentum) Series is designed to help communities more effectively end homelessness by providing tools to help communities:

  • Identify areas where they can make the most meaningful improvements to their systems;
  • Continuously execute on those improvements for the greatest impact, and
  • Leverage their Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) application for the CoC Program competition to kick-start efforts to build a more effective system.

The 2022 SYSTEM Series update includes updates on emerging priorities that all effective homeless response systems must be prepared to address, as well as insights on issues and areas the Alliance expects the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to prioritize in its forthcoming NOFO.

Build an Effective Homeless Response System: Getting Ready for the CoC NOFO

What does an effective homeless response system do? What elements enable a homeless system to make real impacts for people experiencing homelessness? And how can you start thinking about the CoC NOFO as a vehicle to make decisions and investments to achieve such a system?

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Housing First

Is Your System Truly Housing First?

Housing First is at the foundation of an effective, evidence-based community response to ending homelessness. But what does it mean to truly be a Housing First community, and how can systems ensure they’re properly aligned with Housing First principles? The following resources can help.

Housing First Resources

Housing First Tools:

Housing First Blogs:


Housing First Videos:


Building a Data-Driven Response to Homelessness

CoC data is a fundamental tool for understanding any homelessness system’s performance. The following resources explore how to best understand and leverage CoC data, to guide decisions on program investments and allocations.

Data Tools

Data Resources

Data Blogs

Racial Inequities

Addressing Racial Inequities

An effective crisis response system serves all clients equitably, regardless of their race. However, understanding the causes of racial and ethnic disproportionality in homelessness requires an analysis of centuries of systemic racial discrimination; the roles of feeder systems like criminal justice, foster care, housing, health care, and employment; and the roles of homelessness systems at the national and local levels in creating disparities in the assistance they provide and their outcomes.

Learn how to use new tools and resources to evaluate your system, identify inequities, and make the necessary adjustments to ensure an equitable response for all people.

Race Equity Resources

Race Equity Publications


Reducing Unsheltered Homelessness

Unsheltered homelessness is on the rise, especially in West Coast cities. People experiencing unsheltered homelessness are more likely to experience homelessness for a longer period than people who are sheltered. They face unique challenges in accessing housing and services, experience serious physical, mental, and behavioral health challenges, and likely to have ongoing involvement with the criminal justice system. Systems that effectively align their resources around outreach, low-barrier shelter, targeted federal relief, and the appropriate housing programs are best prepared to make meaningful progress towards shelter and housing for those who are unsheltered.

Unsheltered Homelessness Tools

Unsheltered Homelessness Publications


Reducing the Criminalization of Homelessness

The increasing visibility of unsheltered homelessness has prompted some communities to expand the criminalization of homelessness. A combination of emerging strategies and effective best practices are central to helping systems overcome harmful policies, reduce and reshape police interactions with unhoused people, and stop the cycle of fines, citations, and arrests associated with being homeless.

Criminalization Resources

Criminalization Publications

Lived Experience

Listening to People with Lived Experience

The process of incorporating insights and feedback from people with lived experience is essential to effective system design. But meaningful input means much more than sporadic focus groups or token gestures. Learn how systems can re-center their strategies around the needs and perspectives of the people they serve.

Lived Experience Resources


Addressing the Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 forced systems to innovate behind new strategies, partnerships, and federal resources to maintain – and extend – service delivery. Effective systems will transition to the post-COVID era by assessing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted homeless service responses, standardizing new practices that improve the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness, and crafting new best practices from the lessons learned during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Publications


Partnering with Housing, Health, and Service Agencies

No system can go it alone. But collaborative, accountable partnerships between homelessness systems and those in the housing, health, and other human service sectors make it possible to work faster, smarter, and to make the greatest impact on ending homelessness in a community.

Partnership Resources